Brown Panther On The Pounce Again At Goodwood
Always one the most anticipated staying events on the Flat calendar, the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3.10) has again attracted a top-class field in what promises to be a cracking renewal.
Ascot Gold Cup Form
One of the first checkpoints before looking for the winner is to note events in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup the previous month, as that race provided 13 of the last 18 Goodwood Cup winners. This year’s renewal saw Sir Michael Stoute’s Estimate, just touched off by Leading Light, with Brown Panther 5l back in fourth.
Brown Panther did of course win the Goodwood Cup 12 months ago, and purely on that Ascot evidence it’s hard to see how he’ll reverse form with the Queen’s Estimate.
However, it’s possible Brown Panther failed to stay the marathon 2m4f in the Gold Cup, where he weakened a furlong from home, yet showed he retains his form with a subsequent second in a French Group 2 back at 1m6f.
As for Estimate, then he had a sighter of Goodwood’s unique layout when third in a 1m6f Group 3 here two years ago, and as long as they don’t go a slow gallop on Thursday, he should throw down a challenge with Ryan Moore aboard once more. Sir Michael Stoute certainly knows what it takes to win this race having triumphed twice previously, but then so do Godolphin, who won the Goodwood Cup four times since 1996.
Of the last 18 Goodwood Cup winners…
All 18 ran in the last two months – 13 ran in the Ascot Gold Cup; Persian Punch ran there prior to Sandown. Only Yeats won at Ascot, joining Le Moss, Ardross and Double Trigger in landing the Ascot/Goodwood Cup double.
17 ran at a Grade 1 venue last time.
17 were male.
17 made the top three of a Group event over at least 1m6f.
16 raced in a Group race last time.
16 winners had a maximum of four outings that season.
14 were officially rated 107 or higher since 1998.
Trainer Mark Johnston won the prize four times, while Godolphin recorded a hat-trick, with Aidan O’Brien, Sir Michael Stoute and David Elsworth all dual winners.
Godolphin have a real contender this time around via Cavalryman, who was given too much to do when keeping on late into sixth (beaten 7l) in this race 12 months ago, before gaining compensation in two of his next three races. The second of those came just three weeks ago when scooping a Group 2 at Newmarket (1m4f), and a more positive ride this time should see this dual 2m winner bang there.
As for the young pretenders, then Richard Fahey’s Angel Gabrial, could prove popular having recorded a career best in landing the competitive Northumberland Plate Handicap at Newcastle last month (2m, good to firm, where Suegioo was over 3l back in second. Angel Gabrial will be a good addition to these staying races over the coming months, but will need to improve on his first Group appearance – 16 of the last 18 winners raced in a Group race last time.
John Gosden’s Brass Ring, was also a handicap winner (1m4f) back in April, before being held in two Group events. He bounced back with a close third in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot last time (2m6f, good to firm), but is another that will need more.
Also avoiding Group rivals last time was Aidan O’Brien’s Eye Of The Storm, who was a 4l fourth in Listed class two weeks ago (1m6f, good to firm), where he kept on well. The fact this 4yo was beaten only 3/4l in a Group 3 at Ascot last autumn over 2m bodes well, and he is still unexposed.
Nicky Henderson’s evergreen 9yo, Forgotten Voice, won a Group 3 at this meeting 12 months ago (1m4f), but has yet to prove himself over this far on the level – for the record, Persian Punch is the only Goodwood Cup winner older than seven since 1977, which may also count against the aforementioned Cavalryman.
If there is one possible surprise package, then Whiplash Willie has a good trends profile thanks to a staying-on third in a Sandown Group 3 last time behind Brown Panther. He also has time to progress.
It often pays to side with the proven Group stayers in this race, and Brown Panther is taken to gain revenge with Estimate from the Ascot Gold Cup, as this speedier test may well favour the former.